April M Yorke (April), PhD
 Title: Assistant Professor
 Dept: Health Sciences
 Office: IM 335
 Phone: 216-687-6994
 Email: a.yorke@csuohio.edu
 Address: 2121 Euclid Ave. IM 335, Cleveland, OH 44115

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Research Keywords:
Complex communication needs, CCN, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, AAC, literacy, reading, writing, children, adults, developmental disabilities, acquired disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, Rare genetic disorders, Metabolic disorders, Intellectual disabilities
 
Education:
Ph.D., Communication Sciences and Disorders, Penn State University, 2016
M.S., Communication Sciences and Disorders, Penn State University, 2003
B.S., Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas at Austin, 2001
 
Brief Bio:
April M. Yorke, PhD, CCC-SLP has been an Assistant Professor in the Speech and Hearing Program, School of Health Sciences since 2015.  

April has a life-long love of working with individuals with severe disabilities. Since 1995, April has worked individuals with severe and complex communication needs due to developmental or acquired disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, stroke, rare genetic disorders, etc).  She uses technology and other augmentative and alternative communication strategies to help individuals with little or no verbal speech to communicate.

For her research, Dr. Yorke spends her life creating innovative strategies to help individuals with complex communication needs (CCN) to learn to read. It is estimated that 90% of individuals with CCN are graduating high school without functional literacy skills.  It is Dr. Yorke¿s personal mission to change those outcomes. With her amazing team of research assistants (undergrad and graduate students), Dr. Yorke goes out into low income schools and provides intervention to approximately 20 students with CCN multiple times a week. Recently, she has also begun researching interventions to improve literacy outcomes for young typically developing children (pre-k to 1st grade) who are at moderate to high risk for literacy deficits.

Prior to coming to Cleveland State, Dr. Yorke spent 20+ years working with individuals with severe disabilities. Dr. Yorke worked with individuals with severe disabilities in the homes, schools, hospitals, and communities through her undergraduate years and grew to love this population. These phenomenal experiences lead April to Penn State University for her MS Program where she received highly specialized training as part of an Augmentative and Alternative Communication Training Grant from the US Dept of Education. In addition to receiving the standard speech-language pathology coursework, April completed 3 AAC-specific courses and 2 AAC-specific research projects. It was here that April first discovered the vital importance of literacy for individuals who require augmentative and alternative communication. After receiving her MS, April served as a speech-language pathologist and augmentative communication/assistive technology specialist in the schools and at a post-acute brain injury rehab for 9 years. By then, April had been working with individuals with severe disabilities for 17 years. She decided it was time to return for a PhD and to train the next generation of speech-language pathologists. April returned to Penn State University again for her PhD program and began a new journey as a researcher, creating the next generation interventions to improve literacy outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs.  She couldn¿t be happier with her path.
 
Teaching Areas:
Dr. Yorke teaches courses in Phonetics, Speech Sound Disorders, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.